LOS ANGELES (AP) – Apple Inc.'s iTunes store may have revolutionized the music business, but its recent push to let people rent TV shows for 99 cents won't amount to a game changer for how people watch TV.
The idea to offer episodes of hit shows for rental a day after their broadcast may be great for people with busy lifestyles, and it could help Apple sell more iPhones and iPads, but only a few of the major media companies support the plan.
Government report: 4 companies control wireless market
WASHINGTON (AP) – A government report finds that mergers and acquisitions over the past decade have left just four big carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile) in control of 90 percent of the wireless market, thus making it harder for small and regional companies to compete.
A study from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, also found that despite the consolidation, consumers are benefiting from better wireless coverage and prices that are half what they were in 1999.
Cox, NFL Network renew carriage vows
Cox Communications and the NFL Network have reworked their carriage agreement into a long-term deal, although the two didn't provide the number of years.
Cox's deal included the addition of NFL Network's NFL RedZone for Cox subscribers. NFL RedZone allows viewers to follow multiple games and highlights on game days.
Cox advanced TV customers who subscribe to the Sports and Information Pak have the option of adding NFL RedZone to their lineup for $39.99 for the entire season. NFL RedZone is also available to Cox Business customers for $39.99.
Charter to sell Ark. system to CoBridge Communications
Charter Communications is selling off its cable system near Benton, Ark., to CoBridge Communications.
Charter, the nation's fourth-largest cable operator, has roughly 10,000 to 11,000 subscribers in the suburbs around Benton, mainly in Shannon Hills.
Financial terms of the sale weren't available.
CoBridge Communications has cable systems in Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Louisiana and Ohio, but it plans on concentrating its cable operations over time for improved efficiencies, according to the company's website.
Shaw Direct to bow new Motorola HD DVR next month
Starting next month, Shaw Direct will be offering its subscribers the opportunity to buy or lease a new HD DVR.
Shaw Direct said customers could purchase its HDPVR 630, which is made by Motorola, for $399 or rent them for $15 a month. According to Shaw's website, the DVR allows users to record 200 hours of standard-definition programming or 50 hours of HD programming.
The Motorola HDPVR 630 combines an MPEG-4-capable digital receiver with a high-definition television decoder and personal video recording (PVR) functionality.
TiVo offers data on promo effectiveness
TiVo dribbled out yet another announcement this week, this time announcing some more features of its ratings service. This time it's a suite of new audience research and measurement capabilities that include the ability to determine what percentage of TiVo users exposed to a program promo ultimately tuned in to watch it.
Clearwire to unveil strategic plans Monday
Clearwire is going to unveil plans to serve a "new customer segment" during a Webinar Monday, the company said in a brief press release issued today.
Few other details were provided about the business strategy announcement, which will be hosted by Clearwire's chief commercial officer, Mike Sievert. The Webinar begins at 11:30 a.m. EST on Aug. 30.
Clearwire currently sells its mobile WiMAX service under its own brand and sells the service on a wholesale basis to investors Sprint, Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
In the media: Apple negotiating to rent TV shows
Apple is negotiating with News Corp. to be able to rent TV show episodes at 99 cents for 48 hours.
CBS and ABC are also in negotiations with Apple, all according to an anonymously sourced article in Bloomberg.
CenturyLink, Qwest shareholders OK takeover
MONROE, La. (AP) – Shareholders have approved the $10 billion takeover of Qwest Communications International by CenturyLink, the companies said Tuesday.
CenturyLink, the fifth-biggest local phone company in the U.S., is buying Qwest, the third-biggest, as both struggle with the decline of landline phone use in favor of cell phones.
Both companies said they won the support of 97 percent of votes cast by shareholders at meetings held Tuesday in Monroe, La., where CenturyLink is based, and Denver, where Qwest is based.
Study: Call back the call centers
Consumers are only slightly less aggravated with offshore call centers as they are with the IRS.
A recent survey from the CFI Group that included MVPD (multichannel video programming distributors) customers revealed what CFI called an "almost unprecedented level of dissatisfaction associated with offshore agents."
The study finds that call center satisfaction is only 58 out of 100 when the call is handled by an offshore agent, compared to 79 for U.S.-based agents. The IRS scores 55.